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Showing posts from 2015

The Great Christ Comet

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     I'll admit that I am quick to promote this book purely because of how gorgeous the cover is, and how nicely it's all put together. It's a hardcover in a nice dark teal colour, with lovely full-colour photos throughout. In the words of Eric Metaxas ( New York Times best-selling author, Bonhoeffer ): "I am simply in awe of this book. An absolutely astonishing triumph."       Colin R. Nicholl wrote this book to demonstrate that the Star of Bethlehem "could only have been a great comet". He explores the mysteries of astronomy with a biblical base and perspective. He taught at the University of Cambridge and was a professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary before he decided to focus on biblical research.      --Elise--

Steven James Feature

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      For gripping, intense, and thrilling, Steven James is the man to go to. Some time ago I read Pawn , book one of the Patrick Bower Files. And I remember being spellbound. This time around, I started book one of the Jevin Banks series, Placebo , to the same result. I haven't read a book this feverishly in some time.      Jevin Banks suffers tragedy right out of the first chapter, with the death of his wife and twin sons, but the rest of the story doesn't really start until some time later. He's moved from magician to running his own reality TV series, debunking psychics and certain "research" that seems to always prove to be fraudulent. But with the next case, things don't turn out anywhere near how he intends. Least of all with the debunking.      Fast-paced, never-ending action, and a pile of conspiracy theories to sift through, James keeps you guessing until the end of the pages, and while he doesn't necessarily end on a glaring cliffhanger, h

Ted Dekker Feature

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Burn      It has been too long since I read some of Ted Dekker's older novels - some of the ones he wrote in collaboration with other authors, the ones that told thrilling tales with crime, contradiction, conspiracy and danger, and got me reading his words so feverishly to begin with.      I just finished Burn for the second time. I couldn't remember anything from the first time I read it, but it was gripping, intense, and well worth the second time through.      Janeal Mikkado has never belonged in her own Gypsy tribe. Shunned. Disrespected. She's anticipating a life outside of this sheltered life she lives when everything goes up in smoke.      Literally.      She becomes entangled with a dangerous criminal, a twisted scheme involving a million dollars, and a number of gruesome and cruel deaths that send her on a path she never would have imagined. Kiss      Another book of Dekker's that I recently re-read, Kiss , is also a gripping read. Ironically

Abundant Life in Jesus

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     If you're looking for a lovely gift for a lovely woman growing with God, this is a gorgeous item with a decorative cover and a really attractive design. It drew my eye on the shelf just because the cover and how the colours and fonts and everything fit together so attractively, and then I finally picked it up to have a look, and to my delight  the contents were just as soothing as the exterior.      " As you live in this world that is broken, your life does not go untouched by pain and sorrow. Perhaps you think that if you had real faith you wouldn't have to feel sad. But your tears do not reflect a lack of faith. Tears are a tool I use to bring healing in your life."       Each daily writing is written from the perspective of God, speaking to you in an intimate and personal way, with related scripture to start off and a prayer written at the end of each day. Guthrie captivates personal reflection and intimacy with God in a very relatable way, and her writing

Lunch with Lewis

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     In the middle of reading Mere Christianity , I was inspired to do a C.S. Lewis feature here, as seen on page 10 of our Christmas Gift Guide. We have a whole section of books dedicated to the writings of C.S. Lewis and the Inklings, and I'd like to present them to you here: Bedeviled: Lewis, Tolkien and the Shadow of Evil by Colin Duriez Explore the literature and thought of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and other members of the Inklings circle in regards to evil and spiritual warfare, focusing on wartime. "Those looking for contemporary insights into the source and problem of evil need look no further than Bedeviled ." -Bruce L. Edwards, author of Not a Tame Lion . For more information visit our website here . 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know by Terry Glaspey Discover the stories behind seventy-five of the greatest masterpieces of all time and gain deeper perspectives about the human condition, the Christian story, and your own spiritual life.

New Titles

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     I would like to go on a little bit of a different vibe here and introduce you to some biographies and/or life stories that are new on the shelves here. I haven't actually read any of them, which is not my style, I know. I don't like to recommend a book unless I've read it personally. But I can vouch for my co-workers, and they speak very highly of these here, advertised in our Christmas Gift Guide this season! Have a look. When God Doesn't Fix It, Laura Story      Worship leader and recording artist Laura Story was faced with her worst fear - her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her story stresses God may not fix everything. In fact, your situation might never change or get better. But you can get better regardless of your situation. More information here . God & Churchill , Jonathan Sandys      The remarkable story of how one man, armed with belief in his divine destiny, embarked on a course to save Christian civilization when Ado

A.D. 33

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     This is a book that robs me of breath, captivates me, mind, heart and soul, and continues to draw my thoughts days after I've finished reading. It's the kind of book that stays with me, for better I hope, and in some ways, it gives me courage.      A.D. 33 follows Ted Dekker's last book, A.D. 30 - the story of Maviah, Queen of Desert Outcasts and desolate daughter of the overthrown sheikh of Dumah. In the previous book, her desperate search for help and strength took her to kings - to Aretas in Petra, and to Herod in Rome. But A.D 33 begins when she has found strength in her own people - in the Bedouin tribes of the desert that desire to overthrow the Thamud ravaging their capital.      The Thamud, who hold Maviah's lover, Judah, and her father, sheikh Rami, in the dungeons of her homeland. Like criminals.      But this book is as much about Maviah as it is about Yeshua. If not more so. This Yeshua, this prophet, this zealot, this god - he teaches a Way so

Bathsheba

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    Angela Hunt comes at the story of David and Bathsheba from a perspective that is difficult to consider and even harder to come to terms with.      And she does so beautifully, with engaging passion.      Bathsheba's character is stunning, enticing, engaging, and everything I could have hoped for. Hunt follows the story line from the Bible, and then she elaborates on ideas and assumptions and vague hints. Because, just like with her rendition of Esther , there are very few details given on these characters' intimate lives - what it was like for them at the time . The bony, skeletal structure of the story is there, but Hunt has to imagine a lot of the rest.      And what an imagination she has.      She starts with Bathsheba, young and pure, a beautiful young woman with a beautiful future ahead of her, and she jumps back and forth between her point of view and the point of view of Nathan the prophet. Both tied together from the start, their lives intersecting

New Titles

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     There are so many good things just flooding into the store, I feel the need to share! From some particularly excellent authors, we're getting some sequels and series finales, and some more standalone novels. Now, I am still biased towards fiction in particular, so that is my focus. But not to worry. Non-fiction is still making a rise in the bookshelves of my mind. More on that at another time.      For this post I would like to feature a few New Arrivals. Yes, in Fiction. In Historical Fiction, if you w ant to get really precise .      This one here is eagerly awaited; Lynn Austin's conclusion to The Restoration Chronicles . If you're into historical Christian fiction, this is the author for you. It would be a surprise if you hadn't heard of her already.      "Travel with Nehemia to Jerusalem to rebuild the city's broken walls. Lynn Austin affirms faith in the midst of oppression, and hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand

Music Feature

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Introducing Rend Collective's new album, "As Family We Go", review ed from the recess es of Rob's mind:     "Right from the beginning, the first pop/rockish track "Celebrate" sets up the start of a glorious recording of Irish anthems.  Peace, grace and forgiveness are the song themes and the passion of these worship leaders shines through.  This lightly sprinkled folk CD enhances a Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin feel."      -- RN For more information on "As Family We Go" by Rend Collective, visit our website here .

Troubled Minds

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Mental Illness and the Church's Mission , [foreword by Marshall Shelley]      This is a hard read. It's a good read, but a hard read, because there is so much truth inside that it hurts. It hurts my mind and it pains my heart, with story after story of suffering, as Simpson unveils the agony of life with mental illness and the common responses in the church.      As much as Troubled Minds is a collection of stories from different people with different illnesses, it is also a compilation of facts; a plea for help, and a desperate cry for change - help and change outside of the mental health care system. As Simpson so graciously points out, the system was not made to do what many people need it to do.      "[The mental health system] was designed to help people who were going to deteriorate. Now we need a mental health system that facilitates folks who are going to recover." (Chapter 4, page 81)      --William Anthony      Executive Director; Center for

Music Feature

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A litt le bit about Lauren Daigle's "How Can It Be", from the studio of Rob ' s mind:      "The single "How Can It Be"  playing on the radio immediately envelopes you to soak it in. H er voice and music style are exactly what draw people to secular music.  Fresh new worship/pop sounds with a solid message and v ocal similarities to Adelle and M isty Edwards."      -- RN For more information on "How Can It Be" by Lauren Daigle, visit our website he re.

The Curse of Crow Hollow

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     I'll be honest - the cover is what drew me in again. And the title was just so fitting, I couldn't help but be interested.      With good reason.      Not 30 pages in, I decided that I would do a review on this book. I was unsure about the first chapter, but as it got into the story it became what I had hoped for from the cover.      Curious. Dark. Chilling. Engaging.      There is a writing style for every emotion and every mood under the sun, and Bill Coffey has managed to capture a very peculiar, very rare atmosphere in a Frank Peretti-Ted Dekker-esque way, while still maintaining a style of narration unique unto himself.      He introduces his story first as the narrator, welcoming you into town and spilling all of the place's deepest, darkest secrets all at once before he decides to explain more fully what has happened in the area to make everyone act so strangely. So he opens the story with some details about a few teenagers going to a party for the mo

Music Feature

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Once again welcoming Rob with a few thoughts on Matthew West's C D, "Live Forever": "We only have 86,400 seconds in a day and I feel this album is a perfect way to spend 2,520 of those seconds!"  -Austin W. on April 28, 2015       "This is the third CD Matthew has put out where he has people writing letters to him, and through prayer and writing thoughts down, he has developed this stunning album based off of those letters. "Day 1" is on the radio right now; most of the stories have a song.  Also check out his first two story-song CDs, "Into The Light" and "The Story Of Your Life"."      -- RN For more information on "Live Forever" by Matthew West, visit our website here .

Through a Man's Eyes

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Through a Man's Eyes: Helping Women Understand the Visual Nature of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross      This is an educational read. My non-fiction for the year, as I like to call it, although I have been learning to appreciate non-fiction a little more each month so you may hear more from me yet. But as far as Through a Man's Eyes goes, I would almost say it was riveting - as riveting as non-fiction can get.      We've all seen or heard of those books that open with a warning. Something along the lines of "Don't read this book, unless ...you want to die a dastardly death".      Or something.      This book opens with a warning as well. Not quite so foreboding as that, but foreboding in its own way. At the same time, it's a warning that I can - and do - appreciate very much. Well-placed, well-timed, and well-worded:      "Before we get started we want to ask you to do one thing: make sure you are ready or able to read this book. I

Music Feature

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We've been hav ing some technical difficulties lately, but Book Talk is back up and run ning! Here we see the Return of Rob with TobyMac’s latest release:      "A similar vibe to "Eye On It" and a tip of the hat to his former band dc Talk .  “This Is Not a Test” features a song from dc T alk and a number with Toby's Son T ru D og .  Capital Kings, MR. Talkbox, NF and Hollyn add to this ear-worm.  Once it’s in your head, you’re addicted to it.  This CD has a Justin Timberlake-Black Eyed Peas- dc T alk flavor.  Check out the  "Feel It" video online below: http://www.godtube.com/watch/? v=1BJF91NU " --RN      We've been listening to it for a few weeks in the store, and even after having it stuck in my head for days, I still enjoy it quite a lot. Great sound and lyrics, quite catchy - TobyMac hasn't failed me yet! --Elise-- For more information on the CD "This Is Not a Test" by TobyMac, visit our website here ; and here

A Lady At Willowgrove Hall

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[Book 3] of the Whispers on the Moors Series      The story of Cecily Faire and Nathaniel Stanton is likely the best of Sarah E. Ladd's Whispers on the Moors Series. I enjoyed all three of them to a certain degree, but there was something more to A Lady At Willowgrove Hall . She seemed to pay more attention to the emotions and the characters - Cecily and Nathaniel. That's not to say her characters in her other books suffered any neglect, but Cecily and Nathaniel felt more developed and rounded, and I found it easier to fall into the story with them.      Cecily starts off on the wrong foot entirely. Her father disowns her and drops her unceremoniously on the doorstep of a ladies' school in the area, never to see her again, separating her in the meantime from her twin sister, Leah. All as a result of a sixteen-year-old infatuation. And shame plagues her, harshly and desperately, over the dishonour she feels she will be forever responsible for.     Now in a fit of cir

Josiah's Treasure

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     Everything seems to be falling into place, finally, after such a long ordeal of messes and hardships. Sarah Whittier seems to possess some manner of fortune at last, albeit shortly following the death of the only man she ever looked to as a sort of father. She inherited his house. His accounts. Everything she needs to make her dream a reality.      To her credit, Sarah is not a selfish woman. She never wanted Josiah Cady to pass away and leave her with everything, but maybe, for once, it's a blessing in disguise. Maybe things are starting to look up and she can finally lease a space for the art studio she's been longing to open up and run with the help of the immigrant women she has befriended and so desperately longs to help.      That is, if the sudden appearance of some Daniel Cady claiming to be Josiah's long-lost son doesn't get in the way. But a man bent on revenge will do whatever he wills to get the inheritance he believes he deserves, and a woman with

The Headmistress of Rosemere

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[Book Two] of the Whispers on the Moors Series      The Headmistress of Rosemere is a delightful continuation of The Heiress of Winterwood from the Whispers on the Moors series. In most respects, the two books are separate of one another. You could read either one without the other and not be lacking in any areas of information or lack thereof. While book one focuses on Graham Sterling, book two takes into account William Sterling, a young man of the most troubled disposition. Caught up in gambling and betting on horse races, he has managed to squander his entire fortune and place himself in heavy debt - a fact he tries - and fails - rather desperately to hide from the general public. Appreciating the high value people place on gossip, he really oughtn't be surprised.      With his funds rapidly waning and his creditors growing increasingly impatient, he finds himself attacked one snowy evening on the road home and he's forced to seek refuge within the halls of Rosemere

After a Fashion

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     Sarcasm, wit, arguments, humour, dog attacks, china projectiles, and a great deal of pretending to be someone you're not for the sake of money and reputation. A gem quite unexpected.      Honestly, I started reading After a Fashion with low expectations. A fluffy romance. Moderate substance. Jen Turano managed to surprise me quite pleasantly. Her sarcastic wit was truly and unexpectedly refreshing.     Her main character, Harriet Peabody, is a headstrong hat maker with a no-nonsense, very business-like attitude. Losing her job does not bode well for her, which is something that happens no later than two chapters into the book in a very comical situation involving a dog attack and a self-righteous upper-class woman who loses all form of dignity.      The entire tale is filled with moments quite like these, some more amusing than others, some more embarrassing, but all equally entertaining. Harriet Peabody is paid a large sum of money to be a business partner to one of th

The Heiress of Winterwood

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[Book One] of the Whispers on the Moors Series      The Heiress of Winterwood is an intriguing idea that begins, really, with a very uncustomary proposal. A proposal, first of all, from a woman living in the nineteenth century. And she proposes to a man she has never met.      We are introduced to Amelia Barrett of Winterwood, and the Sterling family of Eastmore Hall. Amelia is within reach of a very large inheritance as a result of her father's death, with the condition that she must be married before she turns twenty-four, lest the fortune go to someone else. In this case, however, Amelia Barrett's concern is not with the money of her inheritance, but a different matter entirely. Were she to follow with her uncle's plan she would be wed well before her twenty fourth birthday to a man of seemingly ideal character and upbringing. But then of course, there is the matter of the child.      In the process of her courtship with Edward Littleton, Amelia cares for a pregn

A Grief Observed

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     To anyone who has ever suffered a loss: a comfort. To anyone dealing with any stage of grief: a companion. This classic book by C.S. Lewis approaches the loss of a loved one in a way that comforts, listens, hurts, holds, and cries with the reader. In his mind-numbing grief, Lewis chokes out the words to somehow enunciate his agony over the loss of a loved one - the loss of his loved one - even when his emotions rob him of words and the breath to form them.      In all of his floundering to communicate, what comes across is a beautifully painful account of his journey through grief; the musings of an influential man brought down to the same base level as any other individual. His expression is truly humbling. How often do we look at these famous, shining people as other and out-there and unaffected ? Apart from "the rest of us"?      And how often are we all of a sudden proven so wrong?      To be able to relate so deeply to someone seemingly so far out of reach